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Sea Harrier over the Falklands (Cassell Military Paperbacks)

Sea Harrier Over The Falklands - Sharkey Ward falling short of the "six years, 2000 tanks" of the Rudel memoir or the "100 fighter planes" of Saburo Sakai, the Royal Navy's Sharkey Ward is a cheerfully belligerent, cheerfully partisan recorder of the Sea Harrier's successes in the Falklands/Malvinas campaign. pointing out that his Harrier could have launched a dozen missions for the same fuel as the Vulcan bombers used in their anti-airfield strike, Ward continually talks up his craft and the traditions of the Royal Navy in lucid prose. for a "brief war," about as good as such memoirs go; given the short time frame, cannot stand up to the more psychedelic / esoteric lengths of the great wars. worth a read for airplane aficionados / war book readers

sharkey was proposing taking sea harriers to Buenos Aires. he said sea harriers could fight dedicated air superiority fighters, could be bombers, could fight submarines, aircraft carriers, infantry divisions. sheeet... all the Royal Navy needed was one sea harrier for every argetinian and then royal navy air would be flying from giza to battambang. sea harriers over washington bwahahahah

sharkey was a partisan. a strong arguer for the sea harrier equation

however sharkey did not stop the dassault Super √Čtendard did he? bit tgus '

here is a map of the war.

anyway to return to the Super Etandard vs. Sea Harrier showdown. essentially the Super Etandard (1974) was like a French F-4, "strike fighter" or even "attack plane" rather than pure air superiority fighter. it was a swept-wing mono-engine putting out 11k pounds, able to reach 1000kph, 850 km combat range, thurst-ratio .42, could carry a single Exocet or two air-to-air missiles.

the Sea Harriet jumpjet (1978) 21000 lb engine top speed 1100 kph combat radius 1000km, could carry the same weight (roughly), but with an engine twice as powerful, also had the capacity to take off vertically (vectored thrust). its Rolls Royce Pegasus engine was dramatically better than the Super Etandard's but could sustain maximum output for only 90 seconds (takeoff) after which it was "only" a 25% better engine than the Super Etandard's. so Sharkey was correct; on a 1-to-1 duel, the Sea Harriet jumpjet had the advantage over the Super Etandard in level, altitudinal, manuveur and so on.

the problem for the Royal Navy was the question of chance rather than laboratory conditions. ground clutter; low-high-low attack profiles meant the Super Etandard's could hide amongst low hills. that resulted in:

nobody, I suppose, really reads so much about the Falklands/Malvinas campaign anymore. ancient history, relegated to Margaret Thatcher and the 80s neo-con comeback.

"Empire Strikes Back" or whatnot.

anyway this 1982 war took 2.5 months, involved the Argentinians seizing the Falklands and then being evicted by the Royal Armed Forces. 900 soldiers died in total, so, in short, about 10 minutes at Ypres, or fairly "low-intensity". yet it featured such dramatic moments as the Begrano, the Sheffield, the Vulcan Raid on Stanley (which was said to be a demonstration of true long-distance strike and an obvious warning against Buenos Aires itself).

the British were keen on style, see? if you saw this coming to you, you would surrender based on looks alone.

the British were practioners of ultra-violence and wished to remind you that they retained the upper hand

they lived in council housing of this sort, and wanted you to know that they were fully capable of the UV creed

whereas Argentinians had at best Super Etandards and UH-1H Hueys. they, too, were a 'right-wing' regime.

in an earlier era, the British had even used geodetic construction to build amazingly light and durable bomber airframes, some of which could land with their entire body shot out. (interlocking triangles)

if one wishes to be a semiotician gone wild, one presumes a 'triskele' underlies Celtic-British subconsciousness?

April 2013

some two months after writing this, the US sent B-2 bombers to the Korean peninsula:

smash. well there goes my Celtic-British triangle subconsciousness theory. anyway, the world holds its breath...